How to Cook Purple Hull Peas in the Crock-Pot

Assortment of dried beans and peas

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Purple hull peas are southern peas or cow peas, similar in flavor and appearance to other members of the southern pea family, including black-eye peas and several varieties of crowder peas. Although purple hull peas resemble black-eye peas, they are greenish-lavender with a subtle hint of pink. Rich in flavor and important nutrients, purple hull peas are versatile and easily incorporated into a variety of tasty dishes. The slow cooker is a convenient way to prepare these tasty, colorful legumes.

Place the purple hull peas in a colander and rinse them thoroughly. Sort the peas and remove cracked or broken peas, as well as gravel and twigs.

Fill a large saucepan or kettle with enough water to cover the peas by 2 to 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil and add the peas.

Turn the heat down to medium, cover the pan and let the peas boil gently for 10 minutes. Purple hull peas and other dry legumes contain lectin, a mild natural toxin that is broken down by boiling. The slow cooker isn't hot enough to remove the substance, which may cause mild stomach discomfort in some people.

Transfer the peas to a slow cooker along with the hot liquid. You might add flavored liquids such as hot chicken broth. Be sure the peas are submerged.

Stir in chopped garlic or onion and herbs such as dried thyme and bay leaves, if desired. You can also add pan-fried bacon or sauteed celery or carrots.

Cook the peas on high for two to three and a half hours, or on low for six to 10 hours. The peas should be firm but tender.

Stir in salt to taste. Cook the peas for an additional 15 minutes, then serve.